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Steadfastness in the Light of the Lord's Imminent Return

“The History of the Antichrist” (The Ruler of Rome Rises) 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, Daniel 9:21-27, Revelation 13:1-17

Date:July 3, 2022
Author: Wayne J. Edwards



In 1983, Dr. Billy Graham published a book entitled “Approaching Hoofbeats,” describing the ride of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse during the first half of the Tribulation. Beloved, if Dr. Graham heard the sounds of those hoofs in 1983, what would he say about the events of our day?

  • By every measure, we are well into the Laodicean church age.
  • The apostasy the Apostle Paul said would come at the end of the church age is now here, as thousands of those who claimed to be Christians are turning away from God’s Word and embracing Satan’s lies.
  • The Antichrist’s economic system is being instituted globally.
  • We are being warned of global famine, perhaps as early as this fall.
  • The nation of Israel is in existence, and the Jews are back in Jerusalem.
  • The Gospel is being preached throughout the world.

The evil authorities and spiritual forces in charge of this Satanic agenda are quick to tell us that we will never return to “normal.” While “normal” may not be coming back, the Lord Jesus is, just as He promised His disciples in John 14:1-3. According to the Apostle Paul in Galatians 1:4 and 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 5:9, Jesus will soon rescue His bride from this present evil age and deliver us from the terrible Day of the Lord’s wrath. The rapture of the Church is the next event on God’s prophetic calendar.

However, this does not mean that believers of this age will be exempt from persecution. I believe there is much suffering ahead for those who truly believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, including martyrdom. We will explain this further in our next sermon in this series – “Steadfastness in Light of our Lord’s Imminent Return” – This sermon is entitled: “The History of the Antichrist.”

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“The History of the Antichrist”
(The Ruler of Rome Rises)
2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
Daniel 9:21-27
Revelation 13:1-17

Even though the Apostle Paul taught these first-century Christians the absolute truth about the end-times, they were still vulnerable to the deceptive spirit of the antichrist, and so are we today.

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 6-7 – “Let no one deceive you in any way, for that day (Christ’s return) will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction…for the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.”
  • 1 John 4:3 “Every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.”

That warning should awaken us from our spiritual arrogance, lest we also become deceived by the false prophets in these last days.

  • By every measure, the “church” is well into the Laodicean age.
  • The apostasy Paul said would come is here, as thousands who claimed to be Christians are turning from the truth of God’s Word and embracing Satan’s lies.
  • Therefore, the arrival of the Antichrist is very near.

In this second letter to the Christians in Thessalonica, Paul assured them they were not living in the Day of the Lord.

  • The Day of the Lord was God’s judgment upon unbelievers, not upon believers.
  • The Day of the Lord could not begin until after the Rapture of the Church, and since they were still in the world, that had not happened yet.
  • The Day of the Lord could not come until the “falling away,” which is the apostasy, and the man of sin is revealed, who is the Antichrist, and those two events had not happened yet.

However, since the Apostasy is now here, the next event on God’s prophetic calendar must be the Rapture of the Church.

  • Sometime after the Rapture, the Antichrist will be revealed, and the Day of the Lord’s judgment will begin.
  • While Christians will not know the complete identity of the Antichrist, according to Daniel 9:26, we know he will rise from the revived Roman Empire to become the leader of the New World Order.

1. God’s Plan for Israel – Daniel 9:24 – “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”

Near the end of Israel’s 70-years of captivity in Babylon, Daniel was praying for God to forgive his people of their sins and to allow them to return to Jerusalem. As he was reading the prophecy of Jeremiah, the Angel Gabriel came and revealed unto him the future of the Jewish people from that day to the second coming of Jesus Christ.

  • God had decreed 70-weeks of history to “finish” His plans for His people and the City of Jerusalem.
  • The 70-weeks stood for 70 weeks of years, or 490 years, in which six things would be accomplished:
    • “Finish the transgression”God’s people would never rebel against Him again.
    • “Put an end to sin”God’s people would not desire to sin.”
    • “To atone for iniquity” – every sin would be paid for in full.
    • “To bring everlasting righteousness” – the Kingdom of God upon the earth.
    • “To seal the vision and prophecy” – all prophecies will be fulfilled.
    • “To anoint the Most Holy”Jesus will return and inhabit the “Most Holy Place” in Jerusalem.
  • For these things to be fulfilled:
    • The Jews must be back in Israel.
    • They must be in control of the city of Jerusalem.
    • The third temple must be built.
  • Over six million Jews now live in Israel, but they do not control Jerusalem, nor can they build their temple.
  • This is the source of much conflict in Israel today.

2. God’s Plan for Christ – Daniel 9:25-26a – “From the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks…after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off…and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.” 

   The decree to rebuild the city of Jerusalem was issued in the month of Nisan, in the 20th year of the reign of King Artaxerxes, which on our calendar would be 444 B.C.

  • Seven weeks – 49 lunar years – was to rebuild the city, which would bring the timeline down to 396 B.C.
  • Sixty-two weeks – 434 lunar years – was to wait for “Messiah the Prince” to come – for a total of 483 lunar years.
  • Converting the 483 lunar years into 173,880 days brings the timeline to April 6, A.D. 33, the very day Jesus made His triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem, fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9.
  • Rather than recognized and received as the Messiah, Jesus was “cut off” – He was crucified, buried, and abandoned.
  • Gabriel’s prophetic clock “stopped” – temporarily!

3. God’s Plan for the Antichrist – Daniel 9:26 –27 “And the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary…and he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week, he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.”

Daniel said, “the people of the prince shall destroy the city and the sanctuary…and confirm a covenant with many.”

  • The people who destroyed the city of Jerusalem and burned the temple were the Roman Legion in 70 A.D.
  • The person who makes a covenant with Israel for seven years and then breaks it after 3.5 years is the Antichrist.
  • Therefore, the Antichrist rises from Rome.

In Daniel 2:31-35, Daniel interpreted a vision for King Nebuchadnezzar, who had seen an image of a man with a head of gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron, and feet part of iron and clay.

God revealed unto Daniel that human history would be divided into seven world empires, descending in their power, until they were destroyed by a “stone” – meaning the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

In Daniel 7, 8, and 11, he refers to the “Great Beast” as the Antichrist that will rise from the revived Roman Empire, which is known today as the European Union.

  • He “wages war” – a military genius with great power
  • He “wears out the saints” persecutes those who receive Jesus Christ as their Savior during the tribulation
  • He is “profane and blasphemous” – exalts himself above all gods and claims to be god.
  • Whether he is a political, military, or religious leader, we don’t know and we won’t know.
  • But he will rise from the revived Roman Empire and rule the world for seven years until he is crushed by the return of Jesus Christ.

In Daniel 9:27, Daniel said, “He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week, and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.”

  • This is Daniel’s 70th week; the final seven years of this age
  • The Antichrist will make a covenant with Israel for seven years, allowing the temple to be rebuilt and their sacrificial system of worship restored.
  • But he will break that covenant after 3.5 years, turn against the Jews, enter the temple and desecrate it, and fight against the Jews until he is finally destroyed by the return of Jesus Christ to earth.

In Matthew 24:15, Jesus referred to this blasphemous event as the “abomination of desolation,” and in verse 21, He referred to these last 3.5 years as “great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”